Welcome to ShortScience.org! |

- ShortScience.org is a platform for post-publication discussion aiming to improve accessibility and reproducibility of research ideas.
- The website has 1584 public summaries, mostly in machine learning, written by the community and organized by paper, conference, and year.
- Reading summaries of papers is useful to obtain the perspective and insight of another reader, why they liked or disliked it, and their attempt to demystify complicated sections.
- Also, writing summaries is a good exercise to understand the content of a paper because you are forced to challenge your assumptions when explaining it.
- Finally, you can keep up to date with the flood of research by reading the latest summaries on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Group Normalization

Yuxin Wu and Kaiming He

arXiv e-Print archive - 2018 via Local arXiv

Keywords: cs.CV, cs.LG

**First published:** 2018/03/22 (6 years ago)

**Abstract:** Batch Normalization (BN) is a milestone technique in the development of deep
learning, enabling various networks to train. However, normalizing along the
batch dimension introduces problems --- BN's error increases rapidly when the
batch size becomes smaller, caused by inaccurate batch statistics estimation.
This limits BN's usage for training larger models and transferring features to
computer vision tasks including detection, segmentation, and video, which
require small batches constrained by memory consumption. In this paper, we
present Group Normalization (GN) as a simple alternative to BN. GN divides the
channels into groups and computes within each group the mean and variance for
normalization. GN's computation is independent of batch sizes, and its accuracy
is stable in a wide range of batch sizes. On ResNet-50 trained in ImageNet, GN
has 10.6% lower error than its BN counterpart when using a batch size of 2;
when using typical batch sizes, GN is comparably good with BN and outperforms
other normalization variants. Moreover, GN can be naturally transferred from
pre-training to fine-tuning. GN can outperform its BN-based counterparts for
object detection and segmentation in COCO, and for video classification in
Kinetics, showing that GN can effectively replace the powerful BN in a variety
of tasks. GN can be easily implemented by a few lines of code in modern
libraries.
more
less

Yuxin Wu and Kaiming He

arXiv e-Print archive - 2018 via Local arXiv

Keywords: cs.CV, cs.LG

[link]
If you were to survey researchers, and ask them to name the 5 most broadly influential ideas in Machine Learning from the last 5 years, I’d bet good money that Batch Normalization would be somewhere on everyone’s lists. Before Batch Norm, training meaningfully deep neural networks was an unstable process, and one that often took a long time to converge to success. When we added Batch Norm to models, it allowed us to increase our learning rates substantially (leading to quicker training) without the risk of activations either collapsing or blowing up in values. It had this effect because it addressed one of the key difficulties of deep networks: internal covariate shift. To understand this, imagine the smaller problem, of a one-layer model that’s trying to classify based on a set of input features. Now, imagine that, over the course of training, the input distribution of features moved around, so that, perhaps, a value that was at the 70th percentile of the data distribution initially is now at the 30th. We have an obvious intuition that this would make the model quite hard to train, because it would learn some mapping between feature values and class at the beginning of training, but that would become invalid by the end. This is, fundamentally, the problem faced by higher layers of deep networks, since, if the distribution of activations in a lower layer changed even by a small amount, that can cause a “butterfly effect” style outcome, where the activation distributions of higher layers change more dramatically. Batch Normalization - which takes each feature “channel” a network learns, and normalizes [normalize = subtract mean, divide by variance] it by the mean and variance of that feature over spatial locations and over all the observations in a given batch - helps solve this problem because it ensures that, throughout the course of training, the distribution of inputs that a given layer sees stays roughly constant, no matter what the lower layers get up to. On the whole, Batch Norm has been wildly successful at stabilizing training, and is now canonized - along with the likes of ReLU and Dropout - as one of the default sensible training procedures for any given network. However, it does have its difficulties and downsides. One salient one of these comes about when you train using very small batch sizes - in the range of 2-16 examples per batch. Under these circumstance, the mean and variance calculated off of that batch are noisy and high variance (for the general reason that statistics calculated off of small sample sizes are noisy and high variance), which takes away from the stability that Batch Norm is trying to provide. One proposed alternative to Batch Norm, that didn’t run into this problem of small sample sizes, is Layer Normalization. This operates under the assumption that the activations of all feature “channels” within a given layer hopefully have roughly similar distributions, and, so, you an normalize all of them by taking the aggregate mean over all channels, *for a given observation*, and use that as the mean and variance you normalize by. Because there are typically many channels in a given layer, this means that you have many “samples” that go into the mean and variance. However, this assumption - that the distributions for each feature channel are roughly the same - can be an incorrect one. A useful model I have for thinking about the distinction between these two approaches is the idea that both are calculating approximations of an underlying abstract notion: the in-the-limit mean and variance of a single feature channel, at a given point in time. Batch Normalization is an approximation of that insofar as it only has a small sample of points to work with, and so its estimate will tend to be high variance. Layer Normalization is an approximation insofar as it makes the assumption that feature distributions are aligned across channels: if this turns out not to be the case, individual channels will have normalizations that are biased, due to being pulled towards the mean and variance calculated over an aggregate of channels that are different than them. Group Norm tries to find a balance point between these two approaches, one that uses multiple channels, and normalizes within a given instance (to avoid the problems of small batch size), but, instead of calculating the mean and variance over all channels, calculates them over a group of channels that represents a subset. The inspiration for this idea comes from the fact that, in old school computer vision, it was typical to have parts of your feature vector that - for example - represented a histogram of some value (say: localized contrast) over the image. Since these multiple values all corresponded to a larger shared “group” feature. If a group of features all represent a similar idea, then their distributions will be more likely to be aligned, and therefore you have less of the bias issue. One confusing element of this paper for me was that the motivation part of the paper strongly implied that the reason group norm is sensible is that you are able to combine statistically dependent channels into a group together. However, as far as I an tell, there’s no actually clustering or similarity analysis of channels that is done to place certain channels into certain groups; it’s just done so semi-randomly based on the index location within the feature channel vector. So, under this implementation, it seems like the benefits of group norm are less because of any explicit seeking out of dependant channels, and more that just having fewer channels in each group means that each individual channel makes up more of the weight in its group, which does something to reduce the bias effect anyway. The upshot of the Group Norm paper, results-wise, is that Group Norm performs better than both Batch Norm and Layer Norm at very low batch sizes. This is useful if you’re training on very dense data (e.g. high res video), where it might be difficult to store more than a few observations in memory at a time. However, once you get to batch sizes of ~24, Batch Norm starts to do better, presumably since that’s a large enough sample size to reduce variance, and you get to the point where the variance of BN is preferable to the bias of GN. |

Pixel Recurrent Neural Networks

Oord, Aäron Van Den and Kalchbrenner, Nal and Kavukcuoglu, Koray

arXiv e-Print archive - 2016 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: dblp

Oord, Aäron Van Den and Kalchbrenner, Nal and Kavukcuoglu, Koray

arXiv e-Print archive - 2016 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: dblp

[link]
This paper explores the use of convolutional (PixelCNN) and recurrent units (PixelRNN) for modeling the distribution of images, in the framework of autoregression distribution estimation. In this framework, the input distribution $p(x)$ is factorized into a product of conditionals $\Pi p(x_i | x_i-1)$. Previous work has shown that very good models can be obtained by using a neural network parametrization of the conditionals (e.g. see our work on NADE \cite{journals/jmlr/LarochelleM11}). Moreover, unlike other approaches based on latent stochastic units that are directed or undirected, the autoregressive approach is able to compute log-probabilities tractably. So in this paper, by considering the specific case of x being an image, they exploit the topology of pixels and investigate appropriate architectures for this. Among the paper's contributions are: 1. They propose Diagonal BiLSTM units for the PixelRNN, which are efficient (thanks to the use of convolutions) while making it possible to, in effect, condition a pixel's distribution on all the pixels above it (see Figure 2 for an illustration). 2. They demonstrate that the use of residual connections (a form of skip connections, from hidden layer i-1 to layer $i+1$) are very effective at learning very deep distribution estimators (they go as deep as 12 layers). 3. They show that it is possible to successfully model the distribution over the pixel intensities (effectively an integer between 0 and 255) using a softmax of 256 units. 4. They propose a multi-scale extension of their model, that they apply to larger 64x64 images. The experiments show that the PixelRNN model based on Diagonal BiLSTM units achieves state-of-the-art performance on the binarized MNIST benchmark, in terms of log-likelihood. They also report excellent log-likelihood on the CIFAR-10 dataset, comparing to previous work based on real-valued density models. Finally, they show that their model is able to generate high quality image samples. |

What shapes feature representations? Exploring datasets, architectures, and training

Katherine L. Hermann and Andrew K. Lampinen

arXiv e-Print archive - 2020 via Local arXiv

Keywords: cs.LG, stat.ML

**First published:** 2024/09/09 (just now)

**Abstract:** In naturalistic learning problems, a model's input contains a wide range of
features, some useful for the task at hand, and others not. Of the useful
features, which ones does the model use? Of the task-irrelevant features, which
ones does the model represent? Answers to these questions are important for
understanding the basis of models' decisions, as well as for building models
that learn versatile, adaptable representations useful beyond the original
training task. We study these questions using synthetic datasets in which the
task-relevance of input features can be controlled directly. We find that when
two features redundantly predict the labels, the model preferentially
represents one, and its preference reflects what was most linearly decodable
from the untrained model. Over training, task-relevant features are enhanced,
and task-irrelevant features are partially suppressed. Interestingly, in some
cases, an easier, weakly predictive feature can suppress a more strongly
predictive, but more difficult one. Additionally, models trained to recognize
both easy and hard features learn representations most similar to models that
use only the easy feature. Further, easy features lead to more consistent
representations across model runs than do hard features. Finally, models have
greater representational similarity to an untrained model than to models
trained on a different task. Our results highlight the complex processes that
determine which features a model represents.
more
less

Katherine L. Hermann and Andrew K. Lampinen

arXiv e-Print archive - 2020 via Local arXiv

Keywords: cs.LG, stat.ML

[link]
This is a nice little empirical paper that does some investigation into which features get learned during the course of neural network training. To look at this, it uses a notion of "decodability", defined as the accuracy to which you can train a linear model to predict a given conceptual feature on top of the activations/learned features at a particular layer. This idea captures the amount of information about a conceptual feature that can be extracted from a given set of activations. They work with two synthetic datasets. 1. Trifeature: Generated images with a color, shape, and texture, which can be engineered to be either entirely uncorrelated or correlated with each other to varying degrees. 2. Navon: Generated images that are letters on the level of shape, and are also composed of letters on the level of texture The first thing the authors investigate is: to what extent are the different properties of these images decodable from their representations, and how does that change during training? In general, decodability is highest in lower layers, and lowest in higher layers, which makes sense from the perspective of the Information Processing Inequality, since all the information is present in the pixels, and can only be lost in the course of training, not gained. They find that decodability of color is high, even in the later layers untrained networks, and that the decodability of texture and shape, while much less high, is still above chance. When the network is trained to predict one of the three features attached to an image, you see the decodability of that feature go up (as expected), but you also see the decodability of the other features go down, suggesting that training doesn't just involve amplifying predictive features, but also suppressing unpredictive ones. This effect is strongest in the Trifeature case when training for shape or color; when training for texture, the dampening effect on color is strong, but on shape is less pronounced. https://i.imgur.com/o45KHOM.png The authors also performed some experiments on cases where features are engineered to be correlated to various degrees, to see which of the predictive features the network will represent more strongly. In the case where two features are perfectly correlated (and thus both perfectly predict the label), the network will focus decoding power on whichever feature had highest decodability in the untrained network, and, interestingly, will reduce decodability of the other feature (not just have it be lower than the chosen feature, but decrease it in the course of training), even though it is equally as predictive. https://i.imgur.com/NFx0h8b.png Similarly, the network will choose the "easy" feature (the one more easily decodable at the beginning of training) even if there's another feature that is slightly *more* predictive available. This seems quite consistent with the results of another recent paper, Shah et al, on the Pitfalls of Simplicity Bias in neural networks. The overall message of both of these experiments is that networks generally 'put all their eggs in one basket,' so to speak, rather than splitting representational power across multiple features. There were a few other experiments in the paper, and I'd recommend reading it in full - it's quite well written - but I think those convey most of the key insights for me. |

Not All Unlabeled Data are Equal: Learning to Weight Data in Semi-supervised Learning

Ren, Zhongzheng and Yeh, Raymond A. and Schwing, Alexander G.

- 2020 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: dataset, semi-supervised, machine-learning, data, 2020

Ren, Zhongzheng and Yeh, Raymond A. and Schwing, Alexander G.

- 2020 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: dataset, semi-supervised, machine-learning, data, 2020

[link]
This paper argues that, in semi-supervised learning, it's suboptimal to use the same weight for all examples (as happens implicitly, when the unsupervised component of the loss for each example is just added together directly. Instead, it tries to learn weights for each specific data example, through a meta-learning-esque process. The form of semi-supervised learning being discussed here is label-based consistency loss, where a labeled image is augmented and run through the current version of the model, and the model is optimized to try to induce the same loss for the augmented image as the unaugmented one. The premise of the authors argument for learning per-example weights is that, ideally, you would enforce consistency loss less on examples where a model was unconfident in its label prediction for an unlabeled example. As a way to solve this, the authors suggest learning a vector of parameters - one for each example in the dataset - where element i in the vector is a weight for element i of the dataset, in the summed-up unsupervised loss. They do this via a two-step process, where first they optimize the parameters of the network given the example weights, and then the optimize the example weights themselves. To optimize example weights, they calculate a gradient of those weights on the post-training validation loss, which requires backpropogating through the optimization process (to determine how different weights might have produced a different gradient, which might in turn have produced better validation loss). This requires calculating the inverse Hessian (second derivative matrix of the loss), which is, generally speaking, a quite costly operation for huge-parameter nets. To lessen this cost, they pretend that only the final layer of weights in the network are being optimized, and so only calculate the Hessian with respect to those weights. They also try to minimize cost by only updating the example weights for the examples that were used during the previous update step, since, presumably those were the only ones we have enough information to upweight or downweight. With this model, the authors achieve modest improvements - performance comparable to or within-error-bounds better than the current state of the art, FixMatch. Overall, I find this paper a little baffling. It's just a crazy amount of effort to throw into something that is a minor improvement. A few issues I have with the approach: - They don't seem to have benchmarked against the simpler baseline of some inverse of using Dropout-estimated uncertainty as the weight on examples, which would, presumably, more directly capture the property of "is my model unsure of its prediction on this unlabeled example" - If the presumed need for this is the lack of certainty of the model, that's a non-stationary problem that's going to change throughout the course of training, and so I'd worry that you're basically taking steps in the direction of a moving target - Despite using techniques rooted in meta-learning, it doesn't seem like this models learns anything generalizable - it's learning index-based weights on specific examples, which doesn't give it anything useful it can do with some new data point it finds that it wasn't specifically trained on Given that, I think I'd need to see a much stronger case for dramatic performance benefits for something like this to seem like it was worth the increase in complexity (not to mention computation, even with the optimized Hessian scheme) |

Identity Mappings in Deep Residual Networks

He, Kaiming and Zhang, Xiangyu and Ren, Shaoqing and Sun, Jian

European Conference on Computer Vision - 2016 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: dblp

He, Kaiming and Zhang, Xiangyu and Ren, Shaoqing and Sun, Jian

European Conference on Computer Vision - 2016 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: dblp

[link]
This is follow-up work to the ResNets paper. It studies the propagation formulations behind the connections of deep residual networks and performs ablation experiments. A residual block can be represented with the equations $y_l = h(x_l) + F(x_l, W_l); x_{l+1} = f(y_l)$. $x_l$ is the input to the l-th unit and $x_{l+1}$ is the output of the l-th unit. In the original ResNets paper, $h(x_l) = x_l$, $f$ is ReLu, and F consists of 2-3 convolutional layers (bottleneck architecture) with BN and ReLU in between. In this paper, they propose a residual block with both $h(x)$ and $f(x)$ as identity mappings, which trains faster and performs better than their earlier baseline. Main contributions: - Identity skip connections work much better than other multiplicative interactions that they experiment with: - Scaling $(h(x) = \lambda x)$: Gradients can explode or vanish depending on whether modulating scalar \lambda > 1 or < 1. - Gating ($1-g(x)$ for skip connection and $g(x)$ for function F): For gradients to propagate freely, $g(x)$ should approach 1, but F gets suppressed, hence suboptimal. This is similar to highway networks. $g(x)$ is a 1x1 convolutional layer. - Gating (shortcut-only): Setting high biases pushes initial $g(x)$ towards identity mapping, and test error is much closer to baseline. - 1x1 convolutional shortcut: These work well for shallower networks (~34 layers), but training error becomes high for deeper networks, probably because they impede gradient propagation. - Experiments on activations. - BN after addition messes up information flow, and performs considerably worse. - ReLU before addition forces the signal to be non-negative, so the signal is monotonically increasing, while ideally a residual function should be free to take values in (-inf, inf). - BN + ReLU pre-activation works best. This also prevents overfitting, due to BN's regularizing effect. Input signals to all weight layers are normalized. ## Strengths - Thorough set of experiments to show that identity shortcut connections are easiest for the network to learn. Activation of any deeper unit can be written as the sum of the activation of a shallower unit and a residual function. This also implies that gradients can be directly propagated to shallower units. This is in contrast to usual feedforward networks, where gradients are essentially a series of matrix-vector products, that may vanish, as networks grow deeper. - Improved accuracies than their previous ResNets paper. ## Weaknesses / Notes - Residual units are useful and share the same core idea that worked in LSTM units. Even though stacked non-linear layers are capable of asymptotically approximating any arbitrary function, it is clear from recent work that residual functions are much easier to approximate than the complete function. The [latest Inception paper](http://arxiv.org/abs/1602.07261) also reports that training is accelerated and performance is improved by using identity skip connections across Inception modules. - It seems like the degradation problem, which serves as motivation for residual units, exists in the first place for non-idempotent activation functions such as sigmoid, hyperbolic tan. This merits further investigation, especially with recent work on function-preserving transformations such as [Network Morphism](http://arxiv.org/abs/1603.01670), which expands the Net2Net idea to sigmoid, tanh, by using parameterized activations, initialized to identity mappings. |

About